How can FMs help buildings be more efficient?

Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of global energy consumption and so it makes sense that the building sector should play a key role in climate policy.

Efficiency policies in new and existing buildings provide a big chance for countries to reduce their energy consumption while simultaneously helping along other kinds of improvements such as better health and well-being for occupants, productivity, and job creation.

A facilities manager can play a big role in helping to make a building a more efficient place. Here are some of the ways an FM can do this:

Purchase more efficient equipment

When an FM is replacing or getting rid of outdated or faulty equipment, they should do so with energy efficient devices, which have been appropriately graded depending on the country's rating system. Remanufactured and recycled office suppliers are also good too consider when needing to dispose of or acquire furniture.

Procure green suppliers

When procuring external providers, FMs and their companies should do their research and give preference to those who follow specific environmental practices and protocols so any savings a spread across a “greener” supply chain.

Use good building management systems

A comprehensive, updated building management system consistently saves energy and can lead to a better environment for occupants. Computer-aided facilities management system software can help analyse data and offer energy management capabilities that will provide the ability to track energy consumption and costs across an entire business. This could include asset tracking, the ability to input usage and costs, ability to integrate with other FM software and reporting and analysis of energy usage data. The latter can be used to focus efforts on where energy is being spent and trying to control that which can bring further savings.

Analyse which equipment needs to be used

By using the building management system effectively FMs and building engineers can monitor, analyse and reset heating, ventilation and air conditioning points like chilled water and hot water temperatures and reprogram these values to the minimum levels required for occupant comfort - this will also help reduce stress on mechanical systems and prolong their life.

Build, operate and renovate according to environmental standards

Standards could vary depending on the country but it could include Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in the USA or Fitwel [now operating in Europe too] which is a building rating system on how to design and operate healthier buildings. In the UK, Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is the common green standard for buildings that FMs can help influence. The more managers adhere to these standards the more efficient building stock will be.

Train your staff                                             

Training facilities managers on an ongoing basis on new technology and best practices to improve operating efficiency is key. It will pay off in the long run. If the future is about buildings becoming more sophisticated and ‘smarter’ so that they can promote interaction between people, save people’s time, provide the best environment to work in and make assets perform more efficiently - then FMs will certainly need to be on top of this and acquire the right skills as technology evolves and develops.